Saturday, January 30, 2016

Athena's Owl: A Final Flight

Although I haven't posted here in ages, I still get mail from folks who look for new essays, so I thought I'd put the blog to bed for good, tuck it into the archives, and direct anyone interested to the Farm or the Cabinet, where most of the material had been duplicated anyway.

It's particularly fitting that I close things down during what is most likely my penultimate quarter of teaching. Although I gave up my full-time position last summer, I've held on for three quarters part-time, teaching two or three courses each. But I've been seduced by leisure and have become painfully aware that there's little energy left in body or mind to fight the good fight any longer.

So after next quarter (or before, if the Powers decide that I'm already redundant), I'll turn in my Official Teacher Badge and spend the rest of my educational life on myself: books, MOOCs, research, museums, wildlife refuges, national parks, old British television shows, and a few films. I'll keep writing and blogging, but the focus will shift a bit, back toward more serious philosophical inquiries (on the Farm) and less serious adventures in curiosity (the Cabinet). The archived Owl of Athena will abide in cyberspace for as long as Blogger keeps it here.

Speaking of owls, I decided to illustrate the final post with a particularly appropriate group of works by one of my favorite Romantic painters: Caspar David Friedrich's owls.  The opening image is his Owl in a Gothic Window (c. 1836), a pencil drawing washed with sepia ink--which I discovered many years ago whilst keeping a sketch and idea notebook for my art history classes.

Although I thought the following to be a bit too morbid (even for me) for a final post, I'm including them because they're just lovely:

Landscape with Grave, Coffin, and Owl 
This is another of Friedrich's sepia-washed drawings, from 1836/37. And the next one is from about the same moment, using the same media:
 Owl on a Grave
Finally, a painting (oil on canvas) from 1834, and a nice final comment on this owl's (meaning me, not the one in the painting) perceived position in the universe:
  Eule auf schmucklosem Baum
(roughly translated, Owl in a Bare Tree) 
Please do come visit on the other two blogs. The Owldroppings website will continue on, although expect changes in design and content to go along with the life changes. As Hegel tells us, philosophy can only happen in hindsight, and I've got sixty-eight plus years of hindsight to mull over. 
Image credits: All images via Wikimedia Commons, using "Caspar David Friedrich Owls" as search terms.